Meet like-minded passengers and learn, play or be entertained on a themed cruise of your choice.

Themed cruises combine the usual perks of cruising with a program of seminars, classes, entertainment and/or recreation activities based on themes that seemingly cover the whole gamut of human-interest. Want to brush up on your history, improve your painting or dance like Frank Sinatra? Whatever your passion or proclivity there is likely to be a cruise theme for you. Best of all, on a themed cruise you’re sure to meet like-minded passengers.

There are three types of theme cruises.


The most common themed cruises are those that are developed by a private organisation or special interest group and are administered by a travel agency. In order to be involved with the themed activities, passengers must book through a participating travel agent. The activities take place on a standard cruise, often with a theme-related itinerary. Other guests on board go about their holidays separately, and, depending on the size of the ship, may not even know the themed cruise is taking place. Private themed cruises are generally a little more expensive than the standard price of the cruise.


Typically on smaller vessels, themed charter cruises are private cruises in which the organisers have chartered the whole vessel. These types of arrangements tend to come into play for music cruises, alternative lifestyle cruises, religious cruises and gaming tournaments.

Cruise line-operated

To attract passengers, cruise lines often implement their own themed cruises. As many ships these days carry 2000-plus passengers, cruise lines are limited to themes that appeal to the broadest possible audience. Being less intimate, they also tend to be performance-, seminar- or speaker-based and encompass the whole ship for the duration of the cruise.

What theme?

Think of a topic and it is likely feature on a themed cruise. A theme can be based on any area of human interest that has generated enough followers to warrant a collective. Nudity, food and wine, health and well being, comedy, music, Elvis – if you’re interested in any of these things, there’s a cruise out there for you!

If you’re wondering if there’s a themed cruise for your area of interest, the best way to start is on the website www.themecruisefinder.com, which lists hundreds of themed cruises, from swinging to mindfulness.

While we can’t possibly look at all the themed cruises available, here’s a selection of upcoming cruises to pique your interest.

History Calls

The History Channel and Insight cruises have teamed up to create this themed cruise onboard Holland America Line’s Nieuw Amsterdam when she sails the Western Caribbean from December 4 to December 11, 2011. Renowned historians will host a total of 20 seminars on topics ranging from the American Civil War to Americas involvement in World War II, Vietnam and the Caribbean, while the ship visits various Mayan ruins.

The King Tribute Cruise

Departing Sydney on November 24 and returning on November 27, Royal Caribbean International’s Rhapsody of the Seas will feature performances from ten of the world’s best Elvis impersonators and DJs playing the legend’s greats.

Turner Classic Movies Classic Cruise

This four-night cruise on board Celebrity Millennium will immerse participants in the best of classic cinema. The voyage from Miami to Key West and Cozumel will feature film screenings, panel discussions, trivia contests, games and parties; and passengers will be joined by legendary actors of the silver screen.

Lets Dance Vacations

Let’s Dance Vacations organise dance-themed cruises on ships all over the world. Ranging from seven to 14 night cruises, the cruises feature dance lessons on all manner of dance styles, dance parties and more. Upcoming cruises will sail Canada and New England; the Mexican Riviera; Alaska; and Northern Europe.

Should none of these cruises takes your fancy, have no fear, there’s sure to be a themed cruise out there for you.